The Chicago White Sox have had plenty of success against the Kansas City Royals recently, especially with Mark Buehrle on the mound. They’re hoping that’s enough to help them avoid their longest losing streak in 16 years.
The White Sox try to snap their eight-game skid as they open a three-game series with the Royals on Monday at U.S. Cellular Field.
Chicago (54-69) has fallen into last place in the AL Central, one game behind fourth-place Kansas City (55-68), thanks to its dismal stretch. The White Sox went winless on their recent six-game road trip, getting swept by Oakland and Seattle.
“Besides a bad game, it was a bad road trip,” White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. “When you go on a road trip and your closer shows up in one game, that’s how bad we played on this road trip. Our club is real frustrated.”
The White Sox starting rotation has posted a 7.99 ERA and .352 opponent batting average during the team’s recent slide. Buehrle (9-8, 3.36 ERA) will try to help Chicago avoid losing nine in a row for the first time since Aug. 19-28, 1991, with the final three defeats of that streak coming to the Royals.
The White Sox are beginning an eight-game homestand, where they 19-5 in their last 24 matchups with Kansas City. They have won six of eight overall meetings between the teams this season.
Buehrle is 16-6 with a 3.36 ERA in 32 career games, including 30 starts, versus the Royals—his second-most wins against any opponent. He is 4-0 with a 3.20 ERA in seven starts against them over the last two seasons, with the White Sox winning all of those contests.
To continue that run, the left-hander will need to bounce back from consecutive defeats. He allowed three runs and seven hits, including a homer, over seven innings in a 3-2 defeat to Oakland on Wednesday.
“He threw the ball real good,” Guillen told the White Sox official Web site. “Our offense was shut down once again.”
Gil Meche (7-11, 3.90 ERA), who will take the mound for Kansas City, hasn’t gotten much help from his teammates either. The right-hander is 0-5 with a 5.16 ERA over his last five starts, but has received just three total runs of support during that stretch.
He held Texas to three runs, two earned, and five hits over 6 1-3 innings on Wednesday, but lost 4-3.
“He has to be perfect every night just because we don’t score any runs for him,” manager Buddy Bell told the Royals’ official Web site.
Meche also lost five straight starts from May 19-June 9, but has never lost six in a row. He is 5-2 with a 4.53 ERA in 10 career starts versus the White Sox, including a no-decision on April 23 when he allowed three runs through seven innings of a 7-4 defeat. Buehrle got the win in that contest.
The Royals had outscored opponents 22-7 and recorded 36 hits during a three-game winning streak, but were held to just six hits in a 6-1 defeat to Oakland on Sunday. Joey Gathright had three of those hits to improve to 7-for-11 over the last three contests and boost his season average to .363.
Right fielder Mark Teahen was sidelined Sunday after hyperextending his left elbow Saturday and isn’t sure whether he’ll be available for the opener versus Chicago. The White Sox are hoping to have first baseman Paul Konerko back Monday after he missed the Seattle series due to a death in his family.
Chicago will also have left-handed reliever Mike Myers, who the team signed on Sunday. He went 3-0 with a 2.66 ERA in 55 games with the New York Yankees before they designated him for assignment earlier this month.